Food Waste Microgrant Program for Small Businesses

Did you know that New York City businesses throw out over 650,000 tons of food each year? That's food that takes precious time and resources to grow, transport, prepare, and serve. For food businesses, food waste can have a direct impact on your bottom-line. According to LeanPath, 4 – 10% of food purchased by a restaurant is discarded before it ever reaches the customer.

And that waste doesn't just cost businesses money. If businesses donated all their leftover, edible food, that could result in upwards of 50 million meals for New Yorkers in need, according to research conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Throwing food into the trash also contributes to pest and quality-of-life issues in the streetscape and ultimately ends up generating harmful methane gases in a landfill.  While momentum has been growing around this important issue, small businesses to date have not had access to the resources required to implement the most effective food waste reduction, recovery, and recycling solutions.

New resources are available for businesses who want o reduce waste and save money.

New resources are available for businesses who want o reduce waste and save money.

However, there is a solution. The Foundation for New York's Strongest just launched the first-ever New York City Food Waste Microgrant Program, which will help small businesses take action to reduce their food waste. 

The program will award selected businesses up $2,000 in grant funding, as well as connect businesses with technical advisory, goods, and services, worth up to $15,000, to implement solutions that reduce or recycle wasted food. Solutions could range from implementing a waste tracking and analytics platform, improving inventory management systems, increasing donation of edible food to those in need, redesigning kitchens to more easily separate organic waste, and more. Click here to learn how your business can benefit from and apply to this program.

Measuring food waste in the kitchen is an important step to minimizing overproduction, streamlining food prep, and reducing waste. Photo credit: NPR / Eliza Barclay

Measuring food waste in the kitchen is an important step to minimizing overproduction, streamlining food prep, and reducing waste. Photo credit: NPR / Eliza Barclay

Applications are due on January 8th by 5:00 PM and winners will be selected by an advisory committee comprising of waste, sustainability, and food experts. The committee will be open to questions from December 4th - 11th and January 2nd - 8th to assist businesses in preparing their applications. New York City businesses with 25 or fewer employees or less than $500,000 in annual revenue should apply. Please reach out to microgrants@foodwastefair.nyc with any questions regarding the application process or your business’ eligibility.

Take the opportunity to save money, support your community, and help the environment by making sure your business’ food ends up on plates, not in the garbage can. Find out more about the program and why your business should start talking trash.